I am [Mixed. Biracial. Black. Jamaican. Irish. Jewish] Canadian.
Born in 1983, I have lived in a small town of roughly 1000 as well as the largest city in Canada. I have visited both coasts, and a variety of cities and towns, both east and west. And yet, while inhabiting the same body, I have been read as everything from Southern European, to Middle Eastern, to South American, to North and South African, and back again. I am often asked to name myself with questions like "What are you"? or "Where are you from"?
This photo project is the result of my efforts to explore the mixed-race experience in Canada. "How do other self-identified mixed people name themselves?" is the question I am asking. While their responses may change and evolve over time, it provides a cross-section of how some are requesting to be perceived. This experience continues to deeply impact my own sense of self and has provided me with a wonderful new patchwork family across the country. For this reason, it was my intention to make a photo-quilt of these generous faces, with the hopes of challenging what "Canadian" looks like.
The fact is, Canada has been home to a variety of mixed-race people for centuries. However, more and more people are rejecting the problematic labels that have come with the territory: half-breed, multatto, mutt. We are perpetually exploring the boundaries of self-identification, trying different names on for size, or even stripping ourselves of them completely. While I continue to navigate my own path, I am both humbled and honoured to know that I am following in the footsteps of those that came before me, as well as laying down new ones for those behind me.